FOUR things we learned from Preston North End’s defeat to Sheffield Wednesday

Preston slumped to defeat against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

By Tom Sandells
Sunday, 31st January 2021, 12:30 pm

Liam Palmer scored the only goal of the game as Alex Neil’s men were unable to muster much in the way of chances.

TOM SANDELLS looks at four talking points from the contest.

1. Still wanted: goals.

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Ben Whiteman (left) has settled in quickly since arriving from Doncaster

The same point was made in the same segment this time last week, but unfortunately nothing has changed. North End still lack a regular goalscoring threat and just look devoid of creativity and spark 
when they enter the final third.

Though Molumby did a good job in the No.10 role and makes good runs forward, he didn’t really come off 
as much of an attacking threat.

Neither winger looked to beat their man and attack space, instead choosing to play in front of the defence, and Emil Riis spends most of the game feeding off scraps if not being forced wide to chase a ball defenders are happy to see him going for.

The application isn’t missing, this team tries exceptionally hard and puts everything in, but that seems to be the case when they’re in the final third too. Sometimes you can try too hard.

Things can seem over-thought, instead of acting from instinct, beating a man, being positive and creating a chance if not for yourself then for a team-mate.

Something has to change because goals will get you out of trouble at many points during games or seasons, and it’s tough to watch at best too.

2. Reinforcements are required.

If that’s the best PNE can offer, then more is needed.

They are in the market for another forward and with Ben Davies likely to see out his deal at Deepdale, there can be less focus on the defence. The window so far in terms of incomings has been good.

Ben Whiteman has slotted right in, as has the previously mentioned Molumby.

Greg Cunningham we already know is up to it at this level, in regard to those we might see beyond this campaign.

With a lack of inspiration in the forward areas a new face may just freshen it up, but will they be match fit? As is often an issue when North End bring a new man in.

However they find the spark, it must come.

3. Time to settle now.

Now the long-running contracts saga is nearing its end, with only Ben Davies’ to be finalised, which looks for all money like it will just be a case of running it down, hopefully focus will return.

Daniel Johnson spoke after signing his new deal about being distracted by it and now being able to knuckle down.

With Ben Pearson leaving and Darnell Fisher following shortly after things have got a lot simpler.

We know who will be staying and what their situations are.

Hopefully it means stability and some more consistent performances.

4. Two wins would do it...

As bad as a result as it was at Hillsborough, North End are still only six points off the play-off places.

It’s probably more an indicator of the Championship rather than PNE’s strength this season, but the chance is still there to be taken.

It only takes a run of four or five games and the landscape and mood around the place could change drastically.

It isn’t the end of the world, there is still a long way to go in the season but cutting out results 
such as Saturday’s would go a long way to help their cause.